Today I am celebrating the beauty I see in youth. A few hours ago my youth group got together to cook dinner for my parish. It was just some soup and grilled cheese, but it was a group effort nonetheless. And while we were all cooking, I introduced my mom to one of our new youth leaders. After I introduced them, I saw and heard a lot of other parents come and introduce themselves to him. I can tell you about said youth leader later, but the point is the parents and their introductions.
I listened to how they introduced themselves, and I noticed something. Nearly every parent that shook his hand told him their children’s name before their own.
“Hi, I’m so-and-so’s mom. Jane Smith.” *cue handshake and smile*
And I got to thinking that isn’t it strange how our parents take on our identity as their own? When they have a kid and that kid becomes a member of society, even if it’s just preschool, they start to put that kid right into their introductions. I started to think about how, hopefully, one day I will be doing the same for my snot-nosed kid. And after all of that, I realized that right now I don’t. I have one identity. When I meet people, I don’t say my parent’s name first. I am not identified by who I am dragging to soccer practices or pushing into a kindergarten class. Right now I am just me. I don’t have anyone else to define me yet.
It is a bit of a freeing moment when you realize how precious your youth is. I think it is so beautiful that I have this period of time to not be someone’s mom. I am excited for that stage of my life, don’t get me wrong, but right now I am also in awe of how I am just me for a bit. I never thought about my identity changing as a grew up, but now that I am I want to just relish in this time with a simple identity. Where I can introduce myself as Elizabeth and there not be anything missing. Where I can make grilled cheese with a bunch of other teenagers and feel young. Where I can wear cute sweaters and not worry about embarrassing someone. Youth is so beautiful, and I love that I get to experience it.